Written by Wes Schmidgall
Wednesday, 27 February 2013 00:00
Photo by Wes Schmidgall: Exterior of Heartland Community College.
NORMAL — The Heartland Community College Board of Trustees agreed to a $3-per-credit-hour tuition increase last week.
The college’s tuition will increase from $127-per-credit-hour to $130-per-credit-hour, starting in the summer semester.
The board of trustees also agreed to keep the $7-per-credit-hour student life fee that has been in effect for five years to pay off construction bonds, as well as replace a $2-per-credit-hour student center fee, which expires this year, with a $2-per-credit-hour program development and facilities enhancement fee.
HCC President Allen Goben discussed a proposed tuition increase with the community college’s student government association, two weeks before the board of trustees approved it.
“Two weeks ago, members of the student government met with President Goben and part of his leadership team, the business and finance team, here at the college,” said HCC Student Government Association President Alan Burton. “We talked to them for about an hour, and they explained to us what the board of trustees was proposing, as far as a tuition increase, and outlined several factors that were playing into that.”
Goben outlined four reasons why the proposed tuition increase was needed.
“There were four reasons,” said Burton. “Number one, the enrollment had been steadily increasing over the last number of years. Last fall was the first semester in a long time that they didn’t have that projected enrollment increase, so it kind of leveled out the money that the school was getting (through tuition). The second reason was the local tax base also kind of leveled out and didn’t increase. The third reason was state funding was decreasing. And then the fourth reason was the school was going to have projected expenses due to the pension reform legislation that is currently being talked about in the state legislation. The state is wanting to shift more of the costs for public sector pensions onto the schools, rather than through the state.”
After meeting with Goben, the student government association discussed the proposed tuition increase with the student senate, a week later.
“Last week at our student government meeting, we talked to about 15 students who are members of the student senate here representing various student clubs and organizations on campus,” said Burton. “We spoke to them, explained to them what was explained to us and asked for feedback from them. We wanted to make sure the students’ voices were heard.”
The student senate approved of the proposed tuition increase, said Burton.
“They obviously didn’t like it, but I guess they understood the causes as to why it needed to happen,” said Burton. “They were ok with a marginal increase, as long as the student activities, which are a part of the college’s operating budget, weren’t negatively affected.
“We emailed a response to President Goben. In that response we told him that the tuition increase wasn’t met too negatively, but the students were concerned that in light of the increased expenses; a lot of the student activities would be negatively affected. That was the only concern.”
All of the board members present during the Feb. 19 meeting voted in favor of the tuition increase. Board members Harry Dunham and Steve Graham were absent.
HCC Vice President of Business Services Rob Widmer said the tuition increase won’t solve all of the community college’s financial problems.
“It’s not going to fill the budget hole,” said Widmer. “There are going to be challenges.”
Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 February 2013 10:09